Surprise and Loss on the Farm

Sometimes, even farming as a hobby can be filled with sorrow.

Our daughter came running into the house on Saturday morning, yelling "Maggie had a baby!"  We didn't even know that our beautiful Dexter cow (shown in the picture to the right of our website) had been pregnant.  She miscarried with her first calf last winter, and hadn't shown signs of getting any love from her beau "Elvis" in months.  We assumed that she just couldn't get pregnant.

We were wrong.

My husband, the farmer, ran to find out the situation. Maggie was licking on her calf, who had already had his cord chewed off.  He was a large, beautiful black calf, with curly hair and long legs for a Dexter.  Wrapped in a blanket, he was rushed into the house, as he was laying on the snow, and we weren't sure how long he had been out there.  He was very weak.

My Dad came over to mentor and assist:  A few hours of love, rubbing with a warm blanket, and small doses of propylene-glycol and honey went into the little calf we named "Elmer."  At first, he showed signs of recovery: his eyes began to blink again, his little earls moved, and he kicked his legs once or twice in an effort to perhaps stand.  Our prayers and "Come On!" calls didn't end how we hoped, however.  After a what seemed like an eternity of him sadly crying and choking to get air, he passed.  We think he was born a bit too early -- his lungs just weren't ready for the real world, and he had gotten too cold to revive.

The farmer, who loves all animals, took it the hardest.  He tried working on that calf long after I knew he was gone.  God bless him for having hope in the hard times.

Maggie is doing well.  Except for a few hours of some mourning the next day (we could hear her crying for her baby through the windows of the house), she is healthy and ready to be bred in a few months.  We will keep her separated from the bull to perfect the timing of the delivery, however.  January births are too hard here in Nebraska.


Carla | January 17, 2011 at 10:48 AM

OH Man,, yes Jan births are very hard on the animals but i think they are harder on the farmer that tries to save them

Linsey - Editor | January 17, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Very true, Carla. I was mortified with our first loss. It doesn't seem to get any easier, does it?

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